Mingus baseball inducting Young, Vocca into hall of fame
Mingus Union baseball’s hall of fame pantheon will grow by two members on Saturday and they are very familiar with each other.
On Saturday at noon at Bobby and Timmy Valenzuela Field the Marauders will induct former head coach Bob Young and Tony Vocca into their baseball hall of fame. Their alumni game will follow.
“This year we just decided to focus on coach Young and Tony Vocca; Mingus baseball greats,” said Mingus baseball head coach Erick Quesada. “Their track record at Mingus speaks for themselves and we wanted to honor them in the right way and kind of have some good mojo heading into the season.”
Vocca was the Marauders’ ace as freshman, 4A player of the year, All-State twice and American Baseball Coaches Association All-Region. He then played at Yavapai College, Utah and Minnesota State, where he was runner up at the Division II World Series.
“I was pretty excited when I found out I was being inducted into the Hall of Fame,” Vocca said. “It made me think of all my teammates I had during my four years and the memories we made on and off the field. When I found out coach Young was going in with me, that made it that much better because me and him won a lot of games together not only in baseball but football as well. If I wouldn’t have played for him, I honestly don’t think I would’ve went as far as I did in baseball. He means a lot to me and will always have my support.”
Young coached baseball at Mingus Union 27 years winning 445 games, had 41 players named first team All-Region, 30 second team All-Region, one second team All-State, five first team All-State, won 11 region championships, made it to five quarterfinals, three semifinals won seven Region Coach of the Year Awards, was the 2009 Arizona Baseball Coach of the Year, was the Arizona All-Star Coach three times and won the state championship in 2009.
“It’s a big honor,” Young said. “I was never one of individual awards, to me it’s just a testament to all the players that went through the program that I had the privilege to coach and all the assistants that I had over the years. So it’s an award for all them more than anything else.”
Vocca played professionally in the Australian Baseball League for the Adelaide Bite and then played for the Florence Freedom where he was an all-star in two of the three seasons he played there, reaching the championship series in 2017. Now he coaches baseball full time for the Minnesota Mash.
Young said Vocca lived in the weight room and started going there when he was in junior high. He was an All-State quarterback too.
“He led Mingus to the only state championships they’ve had in baseball and he was a warrior for four years in baseball and football and one of the very best athletes that I’ve ever coached, Young said. “So I’m proud of not only what he did at Mingus but what he did in college and what he’s doing now with his coaching career.”
The Mash are the first full commitment summer team in Minnesota and have produced dozens of college players since they started in 2012.
“He’s done everything, he played Division I, he’s working at a huge baseball facility in the state of Minnesota, he’s played all over the country and played overseas in Australia professionally,” Quesada said. “He had a good professional career and to honor somebody like that, who was a Gatorade Arizona All-American, that’s huge coming from a small town.”
Young stepped down from the Mingus Union head baseball coach position in 2017 and from the head football coaching job in 2018. Now he is the Sedona Red Rock football head coach and an assistant on his daughter Bri’s staff for the SRRHS softball program.
“It’s undeniable what he’s done for Mingus,” Quesada said. “I personally owe a lot to him for my baseball career and football career and just me as a person most importantly and I think I speak for, shoot, countless people in the community by saying he really paved the way for a lot of young men who turned into, I like to think upstanding men in the community.”
Considering how much talent Mingus Union baseball has had, Quesada said it is a big honor to make it into their hall of fame.
“We’ve had a lot of success in the last 30 years,” Young said. “When I got to Mingus in the ‘80s Bobby Valenzuela had the program rolling and when he retired I was lucky enough to get to take it over and we kept the thing rolling and it’s been one of the top programs in Northern Arizona for a long time.”
Vocca said he got into coaching because he loves being around the game and loves giving back.
“I loved being a Marauder,” Vocca said. “It meant everything to me. I had two brothers who went through there as well. Oldest brother Frank won the ‘97 state championship in football and my middle brother Paul made deep runs into the playoffs for football and baseball. Seeing them play all the time made me wanna be a Marauder that much more and try and bring home as many state championships as I could for the town, school and teammates.”
C is for clean
Thanks to the Marauders the Cottonwood “C” can be seen clearer.
On Saturday morning members of the baseball team and FFA cleaned the area around the Cottonwood “C” near 89A and Willard Street. They also painted it white.
First Responders Softball Tournament returns
Last week Mingus baseball announced the details for the 2nd Annual First Responders Softball Tournament.
It will be held Mar. 7 at Riverfront Park. It’s a fundraiser for Law Enforcement Heroes and the Mingus Union Baseball RBI Club.
This year it is a men’s softball tournament instead of co-ed and teams do not have to have first responders on them.
It will be double elimination with awards for the first and second divisions. There will be a silent auction, a raffle, home run derby and unlimited home runs for $5 each.
There’s a $300 entry fee and a $500 one that includes t-shirts. Registration and fees are due by Mar. 2.
Make checks payable to Law Enforcement Heroes, mail payments to 199 S. 6th Street, Cottonwood, AZ 86326. Credit cards are accepted, go to lawenforcementheroes.com.